Silver Shield® with Aqua Sol Technology
Punch out invaders with the power of silver! NSP Silver Shield with Aqua Sol Technology is a colloidal silver dietary supplement that supports immune system function. Silver Shield is non-toxic and poses
no risk of heavy metal contamination. It is manufactured using a patented process with strict quality control to verify potency and purity, delivering 90 mcg of fine-particle-sized silver colloids per serving. Silver Shield is also available as a topical gel.
Immune System Pack
Kick germs in the face! The Immune System Pack offers comprehensive support for this system with three powerful formulas. It includes:
• VS-C ®TCM Concentrate, a blend of Chinese herbs that creates an environment inhospitable to invaders and supports respiratory function.
• Elderberry D3fense boosts immune function.
• Immune Stimulator stimulates immune response in specific ways. Vitamin D3 Vitamin D is responsible for maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, building strong bones, contributing to the overall health of the cardiovascular system and supporting immunity. Immune systems are often compromised during the fall/winter months when the sun is less intense and less able to help with vitamin D synthesis. Supplementing with vitamin D3—the most bioactive form of vitamin D—can help protect the body. NSP Vitamin D3 provides 2,000 IU vitamin D per tablet.
Immune Stimulator provides powerful support to the immune system with beta glucans and arabinogalactan to stimulate the production of the body’s natural immune defense cells. It also contains colostrum, reishi and maitake mushrooms, and cordyceps. Guard against illness with these six powerful nutrients.
For those on the go, Solstic Immune provides comprehensive immune support in a convenient drink stick packet, offering delicious, drinkable protection that can be tucked into your pocket or purse. Key ingredients include elderberry fruit extract, Echinacea purpurea, vitamin D3, arabinogalactan, beta glucans, Panax ginseng, vitamin C and zinc. Elderberry D3fense Block attackers with excellent defense. This unique blend is specifically formulated for immune support. It contains vitamin D3, which mounting research indicates strengthens the immune system, and which is in short supply as the summer wanes and winter moves in. Elderberry D3fense also contains key immune system boosters elderberry fruit extract and Echinacea purpurea.
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If you have done some reading on the immune system lately, you know that immunity involves a complex network of specialized cells and organs that evolved to defend the body against attacks by foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites. The two basic kinds or types of immunity are termed innate and acquired. Innate immunity, also known as genetic or species immunity,represents a wide range of immune protective factors that a person is born with. In contrast, acquired immunity becomes part of the host defenses by means other than heredity. Within this category, immune protection can be acquired naturally or artificially.
Natural acquired immunity is developed through the recovery from a specific infectious disease while artificial acquired immunity occurs when the host receives a vaccine or antitoxin. This category can be further subdivided by using the terms active (the host actively produces antibodies in response to a solution of antigens such as those in a vaccine) and passive (the host passively accepts preformed antibodies present in products such as an antitoxin). When our immune system malfunctions, the consequences can range from microbial infections to cancer. Many nutritional supplement ingredients are effective in supporting immune system health. Some of the more popular and scientifically substantiated ingredients include:
1. Echinacea has been shown to stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of certain immune cells and by promoting the release of cytokines (cellular communication and regulatory molecules) from these immune cells (1).
2. Elderberry contains flavonoid derivatives called anthocyanidins that appear to have immuno-modulatory effects. These compounds in elderberry extract have been found to bind to viruses and block their ability to invade host cells (2). In this way, elderberry is thought to reduce the severity of viral flu symptoms.
3. Vitamin D3 has been known for quite some time as being important in supporting bone health. However, recently Vitamin D3 has also been shown to be a key component in enhancing the immune system.
Sophisticated experiments have demonstrated that Vitamin D3 is essential for the activation of immune cells needed to seek out and destroy infectious invading microbes (3). Without this activation, infections such as influenza and the common cold appear to be more severe and longer lasting.
4. Scientific studies on ingredients such as zinc, Korean ginseng, Vitamin C, beta-glucans and arabinogalactans show that all of these enhance and improve the effectiveness of the immune system by increasing the protective activity of certain immune cells. Macrophages, neutrophils, NK (natural killer) cells and T-cells (T-lymphocytes) are responsible for attacking and neutralizing foreign, disease-causing microbes. Without the proper function of these immune cells, infectious diseases such as colds and the flu usually occur more frequently, are more severe, and have a longer duration. As a pharmacy student and during my graduate school days, I was always interested in the concepts of immunology. However, back in those days, the association of immune function and the gut was either not mentioned or was discussed very superficially. Now that we understand how important a properly functioning gut is to the immune system, I’m fascinated by reading the many excellent scientific papers on this topic. A particularly intriguing aspect focuses on how gut bacteria may influence various disease processes while being involved with their beneficial role in digestion and metabolism. In a previous Hot Topic paper, I described how the “Western diet”—high in fats and simple sugars—can reshape the gut microbial community (microbiome) and predispose humans to obesity and all of the health problems that accompany the obese state. Dietary fibers escape host digestion, but resident microbes in the distal gut (large intestine) metabolize these indigestible leftovers to yield short-chain fatty acids such as acetic, propionic and butyric acids. Not only do these acids contribute about 10% to our daily energy supply but they also impact the immune system. Gut microbe-generated acetate interacts with immune cells to quiet an overactive immune system while propionic acid appears to promote the acquired immune response by acting on T-lymphocytes (4). Butyric acid is known to serve as an important energy source for gut endothelial cells thereby enhancing innate immunity.
We’re all familiar with the benefits of the polyphenolic antioxidants. Recently, it has been found that the well-known ellagic acid, present primarily in berries and nuts, is metabolized by gut microbes to a class of compounds known as the urolithins. Specific urolithins are thought to reduce inflammation and thus protect against cancer (5). We have focused on a few important aspects of gut health as they relate to a properly functioning immune system. However, keep in mind that our gut microbes have long been known to be part of other processes such as food digestion and the production of essential micronutrients. On the downside, our gut bacteria can be directly linked to medical conditions such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and cancer. Therefore, I believe that it’s imperative that we continue toward a better understanding of this huge population of microbes that live in our gastrointestinal tract and other parts of our body. Another way of looking at this situation is that we are outnumbered. Believe it or not, the vast majority of cells that make up the human body are microbial cells.
1. Echinacea. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2010. p. 605.
2. Elderberry. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2010. p. 615.
3. Von Essen MR, et al. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nature Immunology. 2010; 11(4):344-349.
4. Fukuda S, et al. Bifidobacteria can protect from enteropathogenic infection through production of acetate. Nature. 2011 Jan 27;469(7331):543-547.
5. González-Sarrías A, et al. NF-kappaB-dependent anti-inflammatory activity of urolithins, gut microbiota ellagic acid-derived metabolites, in human colonic fibroblasts. British Journal of Nutrition. 2010 Aug;104(4):503-12.
The nervous system is a complex system that regulates and coordinates body functions, including the coordination of muscles, the senses, speech, memory, thought and emotion. Nervous system health, especially brain health, becomes a common concern as we age. As we get older, physical changes occur in the brain that can lead to cognitive decline, including a decrease in levels of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, which plays a large role in memory and learning.1 Other factors that can adversely affect cognitive health include alcohol abuse, chronic inflammation, vascular diseases and stress.1
It is estimated that up to one-third of adults will suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a gradual decline in cognitive function characterized by slow thinking and a reduced ability to learn as they age.1 Dementia is a type of cognitive impairment that decreases the ability to carry out everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.2 It is characterized by a progressive impairment of memory that results in serious loss of memory, thinking and language skills and behavioral changes that can prevent a person from living independently.2 It is believed that Alzheimer’s is caused by an accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which damages nerve cells.3
Memory loss and forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. However, scientists have discovered that healthy older people can do as well as younger people on memory and learning tests.4 Studies show that a lack of certain dietary nutrients can contribute to the development of mental disorders.5 Good nutrition and dietary supplements can support mental and nervous system health.
Lecithin is a rich source of phospholipids, including phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine, phsphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol.6 Phospholipids help maintain healthy nerve cell membranes.7 Research has found that people with Alzheimer’s and age-related memory impairment have altered phospholipid compositions in the brain, and that the changes in neurotransmitter functioning in people with cognitive dysfunction may be attributed to these low levels of brain phosphlipids.6,7,8 Phosphatidylserine is the most abundant phospholipid in the human brain.6 Research indicates that phosphatidylserine levels in the brain may decrease with age.6 Studies show that supplementing with phosphatidylserine can improve cognitive function.6
Essential fatty acids such as those found in fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed oil (omega-3 fatty acids) and in evening primrose oil and borage oil (omega-6 fatty acids) play a key role in nervous system health and normal brain function.9 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil is highly concentrated in the brain (30% of brain gray matter is DHA).6 DHA also appears to promote the accumulation of phosphatidylserine in cell membranes.6 Alzheimer’s patients have lower cellular levels of DHA than control groups.10 Overall, lower levels of brain DHA is associated with cognitive impairment.10
Studies indicate that huperzine A (derived from Chinese club moss) may be beneficial for cognitive dysfunction and memory impairment.6 Huperzine A has been found to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE, which is responsible for breaking down acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is believed to be involved in learning, memory and mood. Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with low levels of acetylcholine in the brain.11 By inhibiting AChE, huperzine A increases levels of acetylcholine in the brain.12
B vitamins are important for healthy nervous system function. For example, vitamin B6 is required for the body to make neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.9 Vitamin B12 is vital for maintaining healthy nerve cells.13 Deficiencies of B vitamins can cause dementia if not corrected.14 Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.15 It has been discovered that folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6 help to lower homocysteine levels.6
Animal studies have suggested that diets high in antioxidants can delay age-related memory loss.16 Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant and has been found to protect nerve cells.12 It has been approved in Germany for the treatment of neuropathy.12 Alpha lipoic acid is fat-soluble and can cross the blood–brain barrier.12 There is some evidence that alpha lipoic acid may be helpful for certain neurodegenerative conditions.12
According to many studies, supplementing with ginkgo biloba may improve cognitive function and memory.6 Ginkgo flavonoids have antioxidant actions and have been found in studies to protect nerve cells from oxidative damage.6 Ginkgo’s positive effects on cognitive function may also be attributed to ginkgo’s ability to improve circulation throughout the body, including in the central nervous system.6
See Nervous System NSP products
1. Life Extension Foundation. Mild Cognitive Impairment. 1995-2010. Available at: http://www.lef.org/protocols/neurological/mild_cognitive_impairment_01.htm
2. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. About Alzheimer’s. 2010. Available at: http://www.alzfdn.org/AboutAlzheimers/definition.html
3. MedicineNet.com. Alzheimer’s Disease. 1996-2010. Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/alzheimers_disease/article.htm
4. National Institute on Aging. Forgetfulness: Knowing When to Ask For Help. 2010. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/forgetfulness.htm
5. Lakhan S.E., Vieira K.F. Nutrition Journal. Nutritional Therapies for Mental Disorders. 2008. Available at: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/7/1/2 Accessed October 26, 2009.
6. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2010. [Online Database)
7. Wells K, Farooqui AA, Liss L, Horrocks LA. Neural membrane phospholipids in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurochem Res. 1995 Nov;20(11):1329-33. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8786819
8. Prasad MR, Lovell MA, Yatin M, Dhillon H, Markesbery WR. Regional membrane phospholipid alterations in Alzheimer's disease. Neurochem Res. 1998 Jan;23(1):81-8. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9482271
9. University of Maryland Medical Center. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 2009. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/attention-deficit-000017.htm Accessed October 14, 2009.
10. Lipids. 2000 Dec;35(12):1305-12.
11. Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center: Choline. 2000-2010. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/
12. Hendler SS Ph.D., M.D., Rorvik D M.S. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. 1st ed. New Jersey: Medical Economics Company, Inc.; 2001.
13. University of Maryland Medical Center. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin). 2009. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b12-000332.htm Accessed October 14, 2009.
14. WebMD:EMedicineHealth. Dementia Overview. 2010. Available at: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/dementia_overview/page2_em.htm
15. MedicineNet.com. Dementia. 1996-2010. Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/dementia/page9.htm
16. Nutrition, brain aging, and neurodegeneration. Joseph J, Cole G, Head E, Ingram D. J Neurosci. 2009 Oct 14;29(41):12795-801. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19828791 and http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/29/41/12795
The human intestinal tract consists of the small and large intestines. The small intestine is approximately 23 feet in length, has a vast amount of surface area, and is where the majority of digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. The large intestine is only about five feet in length but is significantly wider in diameter than the small intestine. The large intestine contains microbes that perform a small amount of digestion. Some absorption does occur there, but it primarily serves as a waste elimination organ. Although foods you have eaten have already undergone a significant amount of physical and chemical digestion during about three hours in the mouth and stomach, it will take 20 or more hours to finish the processing in the intestines. This very complex process is amazingly efficient, but at times can have a few flaws.
Digestive enzymes are proteins found in the digestive tract that help break down foods into small enough particles that can be absorbed and used in the body. In the small intestine, several types of digestive enzymes are secreted that act upon fats, carbohydrates and proteins. You can usually tell an enzyme and its function by its name’s root and –ase ending. For example, sucrase breaks down the sugar sucrose and protease breaks down proteins. Aging, genetics and other factors can contribute to a reduced production of one or more enzymes in the digestive tract. Lactose intolerance is a good example of a condition where the milk sugar-digesting enzyme lactase is lacking, and ingestion of dairy products can cause gastrointestinal upset. Undigested lactose travels to the large intestine and is broken down by colonic bacteria, resulting in gas and bloating. Fortunately, lactase and other digestive enzymes can be supplemented by those with certain food intolerances due to lack of enzymes. Dietary supplements containing specific digestive enzymes—or even a broad range of them—are available and should be taken prior to meals if needed.
The intestinal tract is a long muscular tube that propels ingested foods along by contracting its walls in segments. This is known as peristalsis. This occurs almost continually in the small intestines, but slows to just a few times per day in the large intestine. The large intestine prepares the digested mass for elimination by removing water and solidifying it. If that mass stays in the large intestine too long, too much water can be removed, making waste hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. It is important that the large intestine function properly and move waste toward elimination to prevent constipation. Prescription medication use, stress, travel and lack of exercise can each cause or exacerbate constipation. However, the most common cause of constipation is a diet high in fat and low in fiber, which slows the elimination process. Limiting unhealthy fat intake and increasing fiber intake from foods and dietary supplements (especially those containing psyllium, oat bran and other fibers) is an easy way to maintain regularity. Herbal products that contain natural laxatives such as cascara sagrada bark or senna leaves can help provide relief as well.
Maintaining a healthy intestinal tract involves keeping friendly residents. Several hundred species of bacteria live in the intestines. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that produce health benefits for their host such as improving digestion and immune function. Probiotics in the gut can be increased by eating fermented milk products like yogurt or kefir, taking a probiotic dietary supplement, or consuming foods or dietary supplements containing prebiotics. Prebiotics are fibers and other substances metabolized by colonic bacteria that increase colony growth. Inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are examples of these.
Insel P, Turner RE, Ross D. Discovering Nutrition. Mississauga, ON: Jones and Bartlett Publishers Canada, ©2003.
Lewis R. Life: Third Edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., ©1998.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Constipation. Updated July, 2007. Available at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/constipation/. Accessed May 21, 2010.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Monographs on cascara sagrada, prebiotics, probiotics and senna. Updated May 19, 2010. Available at www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed May 20, 2010.
May is National Arthritis Month. Spearheaded by the Arthritis Foundation, it’s a time to increase awareness of this leading cause of disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 19 million adults. By the year 2030, 67 million (25%) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
The word arthritisactually means joint inflammation. Arthritis comprises more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions, the most common of which is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage, the connective tissue that cushions the joints. Other frequently occurring forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout. Although arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, people of all ages (including children) can be affected.
Joint supporting nutrients such as glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and devil’s claw help support optimal structural health. Joint support products.
Glucosamineis an amino sugar required for the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans, carbohydrate-containing compounds that are the major structural components of cartilage.1 Studies demonstrate that glucosamine is also capable of protecting connective tissues, relieving pain and reversing the progression of joint degeneration.1,2
MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur is required for the production and repair of cartilage.3 MSM is also thought to have soothing and pain-reducing properties.4 Although MSM is found in many fresh foods, it is easily destroyed in cooking and processing. Thus, it makes sense to supplement the diet with MSM to ensure an adequate supply in the body.
Chondroitin is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan that is important in maintaining the structural integrity of connective tissue. Chondroitin sulfate is produced by chondrocytes and performs the important function of attracting fluid into the cartilage.1 This gives cartilage its spongy-like form, making it a good shock absorber. Evidence suggests that chondroitin sulfate protects cartilage and helps prevent cartilage breakdown.1,5
Hyaluronic acid (also known as HA or hyaluronan) is a non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan that occurs naturally throughout the body.6 It is found most abundantly in the skin, cartilage, synovial fluid, and eyes.1 Hyaluronic acid plays a major role in joint lubrication and is critical in maintaining joint health. Research indicates that hyaluronic acid may prevent joint inflammation and the breakdown of cartilage.7,8
Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is named for the tiny hooks that cover its fruit. Devil’s claw root has been used for thousands of years in Africa for pain reduction.9 Devils claw root contains phytochemicals known as iridoid glycosides, including harpagoside, that have soothing and anti-inflammatory effects.1 Studies show that taking devil’s claw root significantly reduces pain and improves physical functioning in people with joint pain.9
- Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
- Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, Lee RL, Lejeune E, Bruyere O, Giacovelli G, Henrotin Y, Dacre JE, Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. 2001 Jan 27;357(9252):251-6.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Sulfur. 2007. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/sulfur-000328.htm Accessed April 20, 2010.
- Kim LS, Axelrod LJ, Howard P, Buratovich N, Waters RF. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Mar;14(3):286-94. Epub 2005 Nov 23.
- Baici A, Bradamante P. Interaction between human leukocyte elastase and chondroitin sulfate. Chem Biol Interact. 1984 Sep 1;51(1):1-11.
- Laurent TC, Laurent UB, and Fraser JR. The structure and function of hyaluronan: an overview. Immunol Cell Biol 74:A1-A7, 1996.
- Balazs E: The physical properties of synovial fluid and the specific role of hyaluronic acid. Disorders of the Knee. Edited by Helfet AJ. Philadelphia: J B Lippincott; 61-74, 1982.
- Dougados M. Sodium hyaluronate therapy in osteoarthritis: arguments for a potential beneficial structural effect. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2 Suppl 1):19-25.
- University of Maryland Medical Center. Devil’s Claw. 2007. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/devils-claw-000237.htm Accessed April 20, 2010